THE SACRED THREAD by Adrienne Arieff


A True Story of Becoming a Mother and Finding a Family--Half a World Away
Email this review


A debut memoir recounting how a San Francisco–based couple became parents with the help of a surrogate mother in India.

By age 36, marketing and communications executive Arieff had suffered three painful miscarriages, one of them in the middle of her second trimester. The discovery of large uterine fibroids portended that a successful, full-term pregnancy would be almost impossible. She and her lawyer husband, Alex, looked into surrogacy options, and their research led them to the Akanksha Infertility Clinic in India. Initially Arieff made the trip there solo to undergo several weeks of IVF treatments. Two weeks later, Alex joined her and Arieff's eggs were harvested, fertilized and implanted into the couple's hired surrogate mother, Vaina. A young married mother from a rural village, Vaina spent the next nine months living at the clinic, under a doctor's care and free from the judgments of her neighbors. She planned to use the money, equal to 15 years of salaried work, to buy her husband a taxi and pay for her children's schooling. Writing in the present tense, Arieff chronicles all of the minutiae involved in their choice, including their fears, deep gratitude for and connection to Vaina for birthing their two twin girls (“no matter how far apart we are geographically, Vaina, my daughters, and I will always be connected by this sacred thread”), and the reactions of their friends and family. The author provides a smooth, compelling read that will surely interest prospective parents exploring their options for surrogacy abroad.

A personal, optimistic take on a controversial subject.



Pub Date: March 13th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-307-71668-2
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Crown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 2012


NonfictionDOUBLE TIME by Jane Roper
by Jane Roper
NonfictionRED DUST ROAD by Jackie Kay
by Jackie Kay
NonfictionMAMALITA by Jessica O'Dwyer
by Jessica O'Dwyer